In another major blow to India’s batting plans for the third Test against England, the hosts lost KL Rahul after he failed to recover from the injury that ruled him out of the second Test in Visakhapatnam. Rahul, whose availability for the final three Test matches of the series was subject to his fitness, was ruled out on Monday as the BCCI selection committee named Devdutt Padikal, another Karnataka player, as his replacement. But what is the fitness status of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, whose selection for the Rajkot match was also subject to fitness?
Last week, the selectors named a 17-man squad for the final three Tests against England. Shreyas Iyer was dropped from the squad after a string of poor results with the bat, but Jadeja and Rahul were added to the list, though their participation was subject to fitness clearance from the BCCI medical team. Jadeja suffered a hamstring injury during the first Test in Hyderabad and Rahul complained of quadriceps pain after the match, which subsequently led to the suspension of both senior players from the second match in Visakhapatnam.
However, Rahul failed to recover in time for the Rajkot Test as the batsman will continue his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru before returning for the final two Tests. “Rahul has reached 90 per cent of his match fitness and is progressing well under the supervision of the BCCI medical team. He will continue his rehabilitation process at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to be fully fit for the fourth and fifth Tests,” the BCCI statement read.
Is Ravindra Jadeja available for selection in 3rd Test against England?
However, the BCCI press release did not mention Jadeja’s fitness status or his availability for selection in the third Test against England in Rajkot. Although his name when mentioned as part of the ‘updated squad’ did carry the asterisk, similar to when the original squad was named for the last three Tests against Ben Stokes’ men, which meant ‘participation is subject to fitness clearance from the medical team of the BCCI.”
Contrary to Rahul, who did not turn up in Rajkot for the third Test, a PTI report revealed that Jadeja joined the Indian team, which had its first practice session for the match on Monday.
“K.L. Rahul is yet to report to Rajkot. Ravindra Jadeja, the local boy joined the team. It has always been a matter of fitness and the BCCI medical team is still not confident that he is match fit,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on condition of anonymity.
If Jadeja is indeed declared fit for selection, he will immediately go into India’s playing XI, meaning one between all-rounder Axar Patel and leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav will have to drop out in the third Test.